In 2008, Florida eliminated the concept of sole custody of children in divorce cases and replaced it with sole parental responsibility. This eliminated the concepts of “primary” and “secondary” custodial parents and aimed to provide both parents with the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with their children.
Unfortunately, there are often cases where one parent is simply not fit to share equal decision-making in a child’s life. To protect the children involved, the other parent must seek sole parental responsibility–by bringing a compelling case for a change in their parenting plan before a Florida court.
What Does Sole Parental Responsibility Mean?
Sole parental responsibility refers to one parent’s responsibility in making all major decisions about a child’s life, including:
- Cultural and religious upbring
- Healthcare and medical procedures
- Travel plans and documentation
- Name changes
- Living arrangements and moving
Being awarded sole parental responsibility does not automatically remove the other parent’s time-sharing privileges. He or she may still be legally entitled to some time with the children.
How Can You Get Sole Parental Responsibility?
During divorce proceedings, Florida courts assume that it’s in the best interests of a child for both parents to share equal responsibility in raising and caring for that child.
Sometimes, however, it isn’t in the child’s best interests for both parents to have equal say in decision-making.
In cases where one parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, physical or domestic abuse, behavioral disorders or financial issues, the other parent make seek sole parental responsibility. The burden for proving one parent’s incompetence lies with the parent seeking sole parental responsibility.
For instance, in a situation where one parent has a drug or alcohol addiction, the other parent would need to bring evidence of this addiction to the courts to ask for sole parental responsibility. The same would apply to a parent who is unreliable, keeps a dangerous home, or is unstable.
The parent seeking sole parental responsibility needs to carefully document instances of the other parent’s ongoing issues.
If you are awarded sole parental responsibility, you will have sole decision-making power in the child’s life. You will be able to make major decisions for your child without consulting the other parent.
Choose a Trustworthy Florida Child Custody Attorney
The process of seeking sole parental responsibility begins with finding a trustworthy lawyer to guide you. With your lawyer’s help, you can gather the best information and evidence for changing your parenting plan in Florida court.
Laura Spencer Coleman is a trusted Florida child custody attorney. She has nearly two decades of experience helping parents navigate time sharing and parenting issues. This includes helping parents seek sole parental responsibility for their children.
Contact our office today to learn more about our services or to schedule your consultation.